Saturday, April 16, 2005

Endangered Species - I don't recommend this solution

Solve this problem. At Bonneville Dam on the Columbia river 40 miles east of Portland the sea lions - Californian interlopers - have discovered that it is easy pickings at the fish ladder. To enter the fish ladder the reutrning salmon have to funnel to the entry. So have lunch is quick and easy. And a couple have even entered the fish ladder itself. Story: Snacking sea lions scarfing up sparse Columbia chinook run The salmon are an endangered run of chinook salmon. The sea lions are not endangered, but they are protected by the US government. Why are they protected? I have never heard a reason, but they are cute! A problem for the class: An endangered species is..... correction.... Not an endangered species.... An endangered population is being exterminated by a nonendangered species/poplulation. What do you do? Answer: You wring your hands and watch until all the salmon are gone. Why don't the well-paid authorities do something? Because it would look bad on TV to shoot the guilty. And besides they are just animals. And so the large, well-paid staff sets off fireworks and maybe sonar - but that might cause damage like those dolphins that ran agroud somewhere. And they plan on building gates. Why didn't you design and build them last year?

Failure in Seattle

In the early 1990s we had the same problem at the Government Locks fish ladder in Seattle. But we don't have the problem anymore. The expert explains their success: "The run we were trying to protect essentially doesn't exist anymore," said Steve Jeffries, a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist who worked with sea lions at the Ballard Locks and has consulted on the Bonneville situation." (See "Failure at Ballard Locks in the same Sea Times story.) So there you have your solution: Allow the nonendangered California sea lions to eat the Columbia River Chinook population until there are no more left. Then they won't do it anymore. Another lesson from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Cross posted at Sound Politics.


tradersmith said...

I am reading, but have no comments. Keep on writing; I like what you write.

Ron said...

Thanks for the feedback.